Monday, 31 March 2014

Sunday, 30 March 2014

JESUS, ENTHRONED IN HEAVENLY GLORY

Jesus, enthroned in heavenly glory,
Once here on earth, the humbled One;
Our hearts have learned the beauteous story
Of all that Thou in love has done:
No love, so great, O Lord as Thine!
Its glories shall for ever shine.

This love shall be our theme unending,
When in yon courts of light we dwell;
From every lip Thy praise ascending,
Each with his tale of grace to tell.
E'en now, O Lord, 'tis joy to raise
Our feeble voices in Thy praise.

From "The Songs of the Lord", by T Willey

Saturday, 29 March 2014

A FIDELITY VILLANELLE

When seeing Jesus in His dignity
Where His true faithfulness has been displayed
"Are not thine eyes upon fidelity"?

Feeling the buffets of adversity
What noble faithfulness Stephen displayed
When seeing Jesus in His dignity.

As you behold amid calamity
The Just One both forsaken and betrayed
Are not thine eyes upon fidelity?

See Stephen in his grace and purity
Face all man's hatred and be undismayed
When seeing Jesus in His dignity.


Seeing God's people's amiability
As walking in the path that Christ has made
"Are not thine eyes upon fidelity"?

Proclaim that grace that touched our  depravity
 And faithful saints need never be afraid
When seeing Jesus in His dignity.
Are not thine eyes upon fidelity?



See Jeremiah 5: 3: "Jehovah, are not thine eyes upon fidelity".  (JND Translation, which I usually use.)

Friday, 28 March 2014

PAUL

(2 Timothy 3 v 10)

i

The Romans
He taught
Christ as Mercy-seat and Deliverer:
The Spirit as power to walk with God.

The Corinthians
He taught
Jesus Christ and Him crucified,
And the order of the church, His body.

The Galatians
He taught
The Son of God, sonship,
And liberty by the Spirit.

The Ephesians
He taught
Their place in the purposes of God,
And the Man who, in God’s will, heads all.

The Philippians
He taught
The descending mind of Christ
And his own mind to pursue.

The Colossians
He taught
The glory of the Son of God’s love
And the virtue of the Head.

The Thessalonians
He taught
The hope of the believer
And how to live while waiting.

But Timotheus saw conduct that suited
The teaching: a man sensitive to the guide
Of the Spirit of Jesus, probing patiently
To ascertain God’s way – yet urgent
On a straight course once guided; humbly
Settling with praying women, joining
What God had begun; abiding where God
Opened a heart and door; yet ruthless
Against Satan’s pretences; joyful in prayer
And praise though severely beaten; ready,
As in the spirit of Jesus, to pour a blessing
On the man who had beaten him; and to join
In the joy of the house, fresh in baptism
At the jailor’s table; returning quickly to
The brethren to exhort them: triumph and disaster
Equal blasts to enliven his fire.

ii

I envisage Timothy
With an affectionate smile
As he read Paul’s guidance to
Be cutting in a straight line…
The man from the street called Straight
With his tenacious purpose
Had carried the Lord’s standard
Into many a province –
To espouse saints to one Man
As a chaste virgin to Christ;
Admonishing every man,
With the desire to present
Every man perfect in Christ;
And for himself to know Christ,
Power of His resurrection,
Fellowship of His sufferings.

Faith girded purpose:
He moved in his straight course since
He lived by faith of
The Son of God who loved him,
And who gave Himself for him.

The breastplate of faith
Protected his invasions
Of Satan’s kingdoms –
His way guided through Europe
Philippi was his beachhead.

His pathway ending
Strengthened by God he could say,
I have kept the faith,
I have completed the race,
And I have fought the good fight.

iii

What long-suffering God had shown
With him! As he kicked against
One goad God set another- although
Saints suffered and truth was blasphemed.
So as one to whom long-suffering
Had been shown he patiently knocked
On Jewish doors, as they shut them
In his face – even his turning to the nations
Was to provoke them to jealousy. And saints,
Saw too the long-suffering of the man
Whose hands worked for them; and if
Corinthians were recalcitrant, Galatians legal,
Or Colossians philosophical he worked quietly,
Not irked by the need to repeat his teachings,
Not complaining if compelled to travail again – by
His Lord’s methods seeking his Lord’s glory.

As a sinner to whom
Mercy was shown
He loved the Saviour.

As a son, chosen
In the Beloved,
He loved the Father.

As a mother
Travailing in birth
He loved the Galatians.

As a nurse
With her own children
He loved the Thessalonians.

As a father
In the truth
He loved his children in faith.

As a brother,
Spent for them,
He loved the brethren.

As an apostle,
Selected by the Lord,
He loved the truth.

iv

Winds lamming the sapling,
Hail like slingshot,
The frost imposing its grasp on the soil,
Survivors flourish;
Tribulation works endurance.

Roots strengthened, trunk resilient,
The tree grows, drinking
Sun, air and water,
Fresh weathers and seasons;
Endurance works experience.

Greenness fringes the tree,
Blossoms pink or white out,
Life fruits and seeds;
Experience works hope.

v

Hard to disentangle persecutions and sufferings
In Paul’s account: in labours exceedingly
Abundant, in stripes to excess, in prisons
Exceedingly abundant, in deaths oft. From the Jews
Five times he received forty stripes, save one.
Thrice he was scourged, once stoned, three times
Have suffered shipwreck; a night and day
He passed in the deep: in journeyings often,
In perils of rivers, in perils of robbers,
In perils from the Jews, in perils from the nations,
In perils in the city, in perils in the desert,
In perils on the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In labour and toil, in watchings often,
In hunger and thirst, in fastings often,
In cold and nakedness. Thus he conquered
And more than conquer through Him that had
Loved him – who had first showed him
How much he must suffer for His name.

And in all things the Spirit of Christ beamed:
Railed at, he blessed; persecuted, he suffered it;
Every way afflicted, but not straitened;
Seeing no apparent issue, but his way not
Entirely shut up; conscious that if he was
Persecuted he was not abandoned; knowing
He was persecuted because of the cross of Christ.
For who desired like Paul to live piously
In Christ Jesus? Blessed they who are persecuted
For righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens!
But there was other suffering too – the mark,
Rather than fighting, of a good soldier. If he
Was in tribulation, it was for the encouragement
And salvation for the saints; rejoicing in sufferings
For them, filling up that which is behind of the tribulations
Of Christ in his flesh, for His body, which is the assembly;
Ready to again travail in birth for his children
Until Christ shall have been formed in them.
And for himself he learned, “And he said to me,
My grace suffices thee; for my power is perfected
In weakness”. While he reckoned that the sufferings
Of this present time are not worthy to be compared
With the coming glory to be revealed to us.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

REJOICE IN THE LORD

Rejoice in the Lord who has brought us salvation:
He came from the glory to challenge our foes;
He came in His grace to have no reputation,
To serve as a bondman, to bear all our woes.

Rejoice in the Lord who was here for the Father
To show what God’s ideal in manhood would be,
To work out God’s purpose, to heal men, to gather,
To bring sons to glory, to set our souls free.

Rejoice in the Lord who is raised and ascended
And seated in glory at God’s own right hand:
He waits till God’s work in His people is ended
And all shine in glory as God’s heart has planned.

Rejoice in the Lord who has touched our affection,
Our Shepherd, our Master, our Shield and Reward;
The Man who has won us through charm and perfection:
O saints He has purchased - Rejoice in the Lord!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

MARY

(John 20)

As He made Himself
Known to Mary, death could not
Come into her mind.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A GOODNESS VILLANELLE

True goodness has been seen - "fruit of the light" -
"Goodness and righteousness and truth" in men,
In persons Christ secured for God's delight.

The Spirit lit the lamp to quell our night:
His noble workings are apparent when
True goodness has been seen - "fruit of the light".

Goodness and righteousness and truth unite
In souls the Lord has brought to God again:
In persons Christ secured for God's delight.

God's word is pure: its goodness will indite
Things that exceed mere human acumen:
True goodness has been seen - "fruit of the light".

Those who do good are lovely in God's sight:
He loved the goodness seen in Christ, and then
In persons Christ secured for God's delight.

Proclaim true goodness in Christ's work; invite
Sinners to come: may God be praised!  Amen.
True goodness has been seen - "fruit of the light" -
In persons Christ secured for God's delight.

Monday, 24 March 2014

SURROUNDINGS

The Christ had come -
And shepherds, at the angels urging,
Rushed to encircle Him
With their acclamation.

Their Lord and Friend had come -
And the re-enlivened family
Surrounded Him
With love, service, and nard.

But His enemies
Crowded Him, hemmed Him, bound Him -
His grace
Allowed Him to be led.

What a circle of sadness
Gathered to convey
The body of the Lord Jesus
To the tomb.

A ring of joy
As the Risen One
Appeared among His own
Enjoying fresh relationships.

From their surroundings
The Lord ascended
To the place of glory -
Making a place for them.

In the midst of the throne
And of the four living creatures
And in the midst of the elders
John saw A Lamb standing…”

Sunday, 23 March 2014

THE GRACE OF GOD

Does God wish me, who wanders from His will
Following the inclinations of my pleasure
Within His presence? Does He wish to fill
His great eternal home with doubtful treasure
Such as I am? Can He find pleasure in
Unstable, weak, and self-regarding souls
Ensconced in lust and garrisoned by sin
Within whose life a selfish mind controls?

He, as a just and holy God, cannot
Tolerate sin - how can He wish for me,
The sinner? If, as sinful, I am brought
Before Him judgement must be His decree:

Yet such the grace of God that I am won
Into His presence, righteous in His Son.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

PASSOVER

Outside is the blood
Smeared on the doorposts; inside
They feast on the lamb.

Friday, 21 March 2014

A KINDNESS VILLANELLE

Because God knows the burdens of mankind
True kindness and true love to man appeared:
Christ came to heal lame, leprous, dumb or blind.

With noble kindness David sought to find
And show God's kindness to one who had feared,
Because God knows the burdens of mankind

But if the righteous smite me it is kind:
Finding I need Him, Christ becomes endeared - 
Christ came to heal lame, leprous, dumb or blind.

Kindness and love from saints' pure heart and mind
Are God's support where sin has interfered
Because God knows the burdens of mankind.

How beautiful to God are saints aligned
To Christ in kindness, and God's heart is cheered:
Christ came to heal lame, leprous, dumb or blind.

Proclaim God's kindness to those sin would bind
Since through the work of Christ they may be cleared:
Because God knows the burdens of mankind
Christ came to heal lame, leprous, dumb or blind.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

SNAKES AND LADDERS

Sometimes my Christian life seems
A game of snakes and ladders.

I edge forward and backward
With the top a long way away.

Snakes lurk - even
After I throw a six. Some long.

Glimpses of heaven - I sometimes
Climb where Jacob looked.

Sometimes the top of a ladder
Is close to a serpents mouth.

Holy Spirit, help me
To overleap the snakes.

Lord Jesus, help me
To reach and climb the ladders.

Father, help me to remember
The home prepared for me.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

EBED-MELECH

I’ll tell you of a happening
When Zedekiah was the king:

God sent His prophet to condemn
The wicked in Jerusalem,

While just outside the city gate
They saw the Babylonians wait.

That army was God’s punishment
For sinners who would not repent

And disobeyed when called upon
To serve the king of Babylon

Which was what Jeremiah taught
When he explained Jehovah’s thought.

The wicked men who hated it
Put Jeremiah in a pit.

The prophet thought; “This place is dire -
I’m sinking down into the mire!”

But while he found his prospects dim
His God was looking after him.

Now Ebed-Melech was the man
Whom God selected for His plan.

He went to see the king and said,
If he’s left there he’ll soon be dead!”

The king replied, “Without a doubt
You must pull Jeremiah out”.

The Ethiopian found some rope
And soon gave Jeremiah hope.

Just put some rags beneath each arm
So that the ropes will do no harm.”

Then Ebed-Melech and his friends
All started pulling at the ends.

Soon he was rescued, safe and sound:
He gladly stood on solid ground.

Thus Ebed-Melech pleased the Lord
Who shielded him against the sword.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Monday, 17 March 2014

HE GAVE HIS LIFE FOR ME

For me He gave His life:
No angel stayed the knife;
No other took His place:
He bore it all in grace;
Against Him was God’s judgment stroke;
On Him God’s storm of anger broke.

For me His life He gave -
Such His desire to save!
Such His desire to bless
Despite my worthlessness!
His grace and mercy made Him die
When I was far, to bring me nigh.

He gave His life for me
So that I might be free;
So that I might rejoice
To listen to His voice;
So that I might be sanctified
And all of one with Him who died.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

WONDERFUL

In the majesty of His Person
He is wonderful;
In the perfection of His manhood
He is wonderful.

In the dignity of His actions
He is wonderful;
In the grandeur of His victories
He is wonderful.

In the mercy which looked out for us
He is wonderful;
In the grace which has looked after us
He is wonderful.

In the view of God the Father
He is wonderful;
In the mind of His saints and brethren
He is wonderful.

In the love which is His nature
He is wonderful;
In the light which has beamed upon us
He is wonderful.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

A LONGSUFFERING VILLANELLE

The God of grace in whom true blessings start,
Desiring the salvation of us all,
Showed through longsuffering His loving hear.

Whence was the work, far nobler than man's art
Displayed in the longsufferings of Paul?
The God of grace in whom true blessings start.

The apostle, formed by God and set apart,
Made righteous through Christ's answer to the fall,
Showed through longsuffering his loving heart.

What has secured that virgin counterpart
To Christ's longsuffering till she hears His call?

The God of grace in whom true blessings start.

Lovely to God, shielded from Satan's dart,
The saint who has, though sin's attacks appall,
Showed through longsuffering his loving heart.

Let saints in testimony here impart
This message of God's ways to great and small:

The God of grace in whom true blessings start
Showed through longsuffering His loving heart.

Friday, 14 March 2014

LIGHT

Let there be light! - thus
God began - and finished with
A shining city.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

BEFORE CHRIST JESUS EVERY ONE SHALL FALL

Before Christ Jesus every one shall fall
Of heavenly, earthly, and infernal things
Acknowledging that He is Lord of all.

When He, whose humble birth was in a stall,
Appears as Lord of Lord and King of kings
Before Christ Jesus every one shall fall.

Since He has known the wormwood and the gall
We love Him for the sweetness which He brings
Acknowledging that He is Lord of all.

He was before all things, and He could call
On winds and storms to cease their buffetings:
Before Christ Jesus every one shall fall.

And God has been delighted to install
Him on His throne, while each redeemed one sings
Acknowledging that He is Lord of all.

He has a glory which will never pall
While in His praise the court of heaven rings;
Before Christ Jesus every one shall fall
Acknowledging that He is Lord of all.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

PASSOVER

(Exodus 12: 9)

What of His head? It was as finest gold,
Concordant with the glory of Gods throne.
But men bestowed upon Him many a blow:
His was the head they spat upon and smote.
But God who saw men smite Him here below
Rejoiced in Him as He rejoiced to know.
God by whose will He suffered pain and woe
Crowned Him because of all the grief He bore,
Glorified Jesus for all the grace He showed
And showered Him with wealth of heavens resource.

What of His legs? They are as marble pillars;
They bore Him on His gracious holy mission
Which brought Gods thoughts of blessing to their fulfilment.
Men led the Lord towards the cross to kill Him
But Stephen saw Christ glorified and risen
Standing to bless though Israel had been wilful.
Stately in bearing the Lord, once dead, but living
Comes to His own, a people who are willing.

What of His inwards? In tenderness He wept
Seeing a world impacted on by death;
But He rejoiced in simple pious men
Who were Gods gift to One whom He had sent.
And as He came towards Golgothas depths
His soul recoiled in perfect holiness!
And His great cry as One who was bereft -
No words can tell what its profoundness meant.
And still His inwards are towards those on earth
Whom He secured at infinite expense.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

GLAD TIDINGS

Upon the shameful tree
Christ suffered to atone;
He bore the judgment due to me
And made my sins His own.

When all was dark and grim
- The sun as black as night -
God’s righteous judgment fell on Him
In concentrated might.

The penalty of sin,
The prison-house of death,
For me the Saviour came within
When yielding up His breath.

His precious blood was shed,
In grace no words can tell,
By Jesus, as He hung there dead:
He has done all things well!

They laid Him in the grave -
But in God’s timing He
Rose omnicompetent to save;
All this He did for me.

All this He did for me
And now upon the throne
He blesses me, He sets me free
And makes His place my own.

Praise for what He has done
In working out God’s ways;
Grace crowns what mercy has begun:
Praise without ceasing, praise.